3

Quotes Suitable for Framing: George Will

 

The EU has a flag no one salutes, an anthem no one sings, a president no one can name, a parliament whose powers subtract from those of national legislatures, a bureaucracy no one admires or controls, and rules of fiscal rectitude that no member is penalized for ignoring. It does, however, have in Greece a member whose difficulties are wonderfully didactic.

It cannot be said too often: There cannot be too many socialist smashups. The best of these punish reckless creditors whose lending enables socialists to live, for a while, off other people’s money. The world, which owes much to ancient Athens’s legacy, including the idea of democracy, is indebted to today’s Athens for the reminder that reality does not respect a democracy’s delusions.

Reality always wins out in the end.

 

28

PopeWatch: Liberal Catholic

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Over the years PopeWatch has heard time and again from many Catholics that there are no liberal Catholics nor conservative Catholics but merely Catholics.  PopeWatch has never believed this since the evidence to the contrary is so abundant.  PopeWatch would suggest that there are liberal and conservative Catholics and that Pope Francis is an example of a liberal Catholic.  In what way is Pope Francis a liberal Catholic (using “liberal” in the current popular American sense of being on the political left)?

1.  He has a distrust, if not hatred, of markets.

2.  His preferred solution to most problems in this Vale of Tears is to call upon Caesar to find a solution.

3.  He has a great fondness for some sort of world government.

4.  He believes in some of the shibboleths popular on the Left, including that arms merchants start wars, and that rich countries are responsible for poor countries being poor.

5.  He seeks out allies from the loony Left.

6.  He favors stringent regulation and control of economies by governments.

7.  He favors environmental “reform” even if, as he expects, people become materially poorer as a result.

8.  He has a distrust of democracy as democratic states lack long term commitment to the environmental measures that he favors.

9.  His outlook on life is top down with leaders bringing enlightenment to common humanity.

10.The Left, who hated his predecessors, love Pope Francis, who they view as an ally in most of their fights.

Continue Reading

8

Gay Marriage and the Hand of God

She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

Protestant historian and essayist Thomas Babington Macaulay on the Catholic Church

 

 

 

I am always reluctant to see the hand of God in human affairs.  I think there is much wisdom in this observation about God by Lincoln in his Second Inaugural:  The Almighty has His own purposes.   However, it is striking that Christian churches that embrace the evil Zeitgeist of today on abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and other issues, swiftly see their numbers diminishing and their churches heading to extinction.  David French at National Review Online looks at this phenomenon:

In previous pieces, I’ve amply documented the decline and fall of the Protestant Mainline, those churches — like the United Churches of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA) — that abandoned biblical orthodoxy decades ago, in the name of cultural relevance and “inclusion.” Some are declining so precipitously that they may cease to exist within a generation. Already we’re seeing similar signs of decline in those Evangelical churches that are abandoning biblical truth on questions of sex, family, and marriage.

 

The day before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Nashville Scene — a local alternative paper — ran a long, gauzy profile of Pastor Stan Mitchell and GracePointe, a Tennessee church that’s done exactly what the culture demands and embraced same-sex marriage. In the midst of the lengthy ode to his courage, this small paragraph of truth stood out: 

Continue Reading

4

Fortnight for Freedom: Bishop Sheen-Life of Abraham Lincoln

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

In our current struggle in this country for freedom, it is good to recall champions of it.  Two names stand above all others:  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

In that regard,  Bishop Sheen retold the life of Abraham Lincoln on his television show.  Originally broadcast in 1954, it is an interesting take on the Great Emancipator.  Completely fascinating.  A great tribute by a son of Illinois to the greatest son of Illinois.

As a native of Peoria, Sheen knew that Lincoln re-emerged into political life on October 16, 1854 when he gave a speech in Peoria that attacked the repeal of the Missouri Compromise by Stephen Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Go here to read that speech.  The rest of Lincoln’s political life was set by that speech that catapulted him into the challenge to Douglas for his Senate seat in 1858, and his Presidential campaign against Douglas in 1860.  For Lincoln personally, the Peoria speech was the most significant of his life.

Of course Bishop Sheen did not celebrate Lincoln simply because of his connection with Illinois and Peoria.  In addition to his winning the Civil War and freeing the slaves, Lincoln was also ever a friend to Catholics.

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8.  These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

Lincoln remained true to this belief.  At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”

On July 4, 1864, when Lincoln had much else to occupy his mind, he attended a fundraising for a  Catholic church for Washington blacks.  Lincoln had given permission for the fund raiser to be held on the lawn of the White House. Continue Reading

9

Thoughts on Laudato Si

Earlier last week I quipped that the original title of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical was Industrial Society and Its Future. For those who didn’t get the reference, it is the title of the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto. Now I wrote this with tongue firmly planted in cheek, although I am evidently not the only person who made this connection. Though the Pontiff iterates that he is not opposed to technological progress per se, the impression he leaves is that he is not particularly fond of modern society and the advances of the great inventions of the 20th and 21st century.

In this he’s not entirely alone. Who hasn’t complained about the ways people bury themselves in their phones, failing to interact with those around them? But he goes far beyond such laments and rails against many of the aspects of modern life. What’s more aggravating is the way that he ignores how most of these advances have improved rather than hampered the lives of the poor. More unfortunately, this is a relatively minor failing of the encyclical compared to its other shortcomings.

The overarching defense of the encyclical is that it isn’t just about climate change. The Pope was really aiming his pen in large part at secularist environmentalists and trying to persuade them to encounter the entirety of the Gospel. After all, the Pope definitively defends Church teaching on abortion and family life, pointing out the hypocrisy of greenies who seemingly value plant life over human life.

This is true to an extent. It is not merely a climate change encyclical, and the Pope made an attempt to provide a holistic approach to ecology. As Yuval Levin puts it:

The Pope is trying to hijack the standing and authority (in the eyes of global elites and others) of a left-wing or radical environmentalist agenda to advance a deeply traditional Catholic vision of the human good and to get it a hearing by dressing it up as enlightened ecology.

Sadly the Pope utterly failed in this attempt, and that leads me to my fundamental criticism. The encyclical is a rather bifurcated document. The Pope generally relies on secularist language in attempt to talk, as it were, to the whole world. Then the Pope scatters in theological references. At no point, though, does he integrate the theological and the secular. What we’re left with is an encyclical that simultaneously treats the secular audience too softly and too hard. Too softly in that he is reluctant to boldly preach the Gospel message to them to convince them of the right approach to acting more ethically, and yet too hard because where he does attempt to defend traditional Church teaching, he does so in an abrupt, unconvincing manner. Calling out the hypocrisy of supporting environmental reform while also defending abortion rights is all well and good, but the Pope fails to elaborate on this. He doesn’t substantively rely on the rich teachings of the Church that date back two thousand years. He just makes a declarative statement that this attitude is incongruous and then moves on.

That this approach is doomed to failure is witnessed in the very first comment to the post linked at the beginning of this post.

If the pope wants to fight climate change he could start by allowing contraception.

Clearly the parts of this encyclical that we’re supposed to have cheered on didn’t reach this person.

Now it will be said that the Pope is not at fault because either the media under-reported these aspects of the encyclical or the audience simply rejected it. Sorry, but more than after two years into his Pontificate if he’s unaware of how his words will be used, then the Pope is not a particularly wise man. Furthermore, if he’s going to make a moral case against abortion and birth control, he has to try a little bit harder than he did on these pages. Considering how repetitive and long-winded the rest of the encyclical is, he surely could have edited down elsewhere to make room for more detailed apologetics on these issues. He did not, though, and he is primarily responsibile for this failure to connect.

And that’s a core issue with this Pope’s style: it’s one that is necessarily going to sway the people he’s trying to sway. Just as he is doomed to fail to convince the secularists, his method of dealing with economics is just as awkward and off-putting. He presents a rather black and white worldview with the ever put upon poor on one side, and a group of Snidely Whiplash-like cartoon capitalists on the other, twirling their mustaches and cooking up schemes to make the poor even poorer. Actually, there might be a third group: uncaring bumpkins sitting in their air conditioned homes with the eyes locked onto their mobile devices.

What’s funny about this rather strawman-laden document (which incidentally reads as though sections were written by the blogger formerly known as Morning’s Minion) is that he chides the ivory tower intellectuals who don’t really interact with the real world, and who form opinions without truly understanding what people are going through on a day-to-day basis. Now it’s true that perhaps Americans and others in the west can’t relate to some of the abysmal conditions existing in other parts of the world, and thus we might tend to ignore or shrug off as exaggerated some of the Pope’s lamentations. At the same time, the Pope himself has lived in his own sort of bubble. Having lived his entire life in an economic basket case he can’t totally be faulted for criticizing the current economic system. Yet these experiences have perhaps inoculated him from forming a more accurate picture of the world and how economic and technological progress has vastly improved the lot of much of humanity. Thus he has formed a rather simplistic view of capitalism. Sadly, this leads to a simplistic, meandering, and ultimately worthless document.

Coda: I wrote this blog and had it set to post last Friday, but then the Supreme Court decision came down and decided to hold off. Part of me thought of completely deleting the post because it seemed other issues were more pressing. Ultimately that’s why I decided to publish this: it’s even more evidence of the Pope’s bad judgment. With all that is happening in the world, this is what he chooses to write a long-winded encyclical about? This is what he’s throwing the full p.r. machine of the Vatican into? I’m not normally one for suggesting that Pope can’t write about certain subjects due to the severity of other issues. Metaphorically speaking Popes ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. And the Pope can’t drop everything for American political events. But it’s not just America that is being impacted by these cultural shifts.

24

PopeWatch: Priorities

Here is the response thus far of Pope Francis in regard to the United States Supreme Court mandating gay marriage:

 

In other news, the Pope has appointed Left wing activist Naomi Klein to co-chair a Vatican conference on the environment.  Klein views climate change as an opportunity to ditch capitalism:

Klein is likely to be a highly controversial choice as co-chair, not only because it is unusual to see a non-religious figure leading sessions in the Vatican, but because she is staunchly socialist in her outlook: her most recent book is entitled This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

In it, she insists that the only way to save the planet from annihilation by climate change is to abandon capitalism. “In order for us to make the kind of progress we need to make in the short amount of time we have left we must confront the reigning, unquestioned ideology that sees privatization as always good, and doesn’t question the logic of austerity, doesn’t question the logic of pro-corporate, free trade deals that have stood in the way of progress on climate,” she told Macleans last year.

“That’s not necessarily the most popular message. But emissions are up 61 percent since we started trying to fix this problem in the early 1990s. Obviously, that strategy isn’t working.”

Her views chime with those of the Pope, who used the 180-page encyclical to call on rich countries to hand over large sums of money to poor countries as payment for their “grave social debt”.

“The foreign debt of poor countries has become a way of controlling them, yet this is not the case where ecological debt is concerned,” Francis wrote. “In different ways, developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future.

“The developed countries ought to help pay this debt by significantly limiting their consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development.”

Klein has praised the Pope for that stance, telling the Observer: “The fact that they invited me indicates they’re not backing down from the fight. A lot of people have patted the pope on the head, but said he’s wrong on the economics. I think he’s right on the economics.”

She added that the Pope’s unique position as a “moral voice” gave him leverage to unite campaigners fighting for a common goal. “The holistic view of the encyclical should be a catalyst to bring together the twin economic and climate crises, instead of treating them separately,” she said.

And she tacitly accused his detractors of racism, suggesting that the Pope was being opposed on the economic arguments because he’s from the Southern hemisphere, saying: “There are a lot of people who are having a lot of trouble in realising there is a voice with such global authority from the global south. That’s why we’re getting this condescending view, of ‘leave the economics to us’,”

Unfortunately for Klein (and the Pope), her writing makes it clear that she has little grasp of basic concepts used in science such as cause and effect or numbers. Four years ago she attended the Heartland Institute’s climate conference in order to critique it.

The Australian climate blogger Jo Nova quickly and comprehensively destroyed her critique, however, saying: “Naomi Klein was the wrong person to send to a heavy-weight science conference  — in “Capitalism vs Climate” she notices hundreds of details, but they’re all the wrong ones.

“The lights are on and no brain is home.  Unpack the loquacious pencraft and we wallow in innumerate arguments that confuse cause and effect, peppered with petulant name-calling. She can throw stones, but she can’t count past “one”.” Continue Reading

2

Inside Out

Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men’s belief that they “own” their bodies — those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of Another!

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

 

 

My family and I went to see the new Pixar movie Inside Out on Saturday, and I heartily endorse it.  It is a very funny family comedy which gives a humorous fictional account of how people think and interact with others.  Personifications of our emotions run the show for each person, and the story conceit is well developed.  On one level it can be enjoyed as a kid’s movie, and on another level it is a pretty profound meditation on how complex human thoughts and emotions are, as we attempt to interact with others while barely understanding, at times, the complex factors within us determining our reactions to the outside world.  As usual for Pixar, stay for the ending credits, where you will see funny vignettes.  A good film for the forthcoming holiday weekend. Continue Reading

12

Bear Growls: Her Hotness

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Saint Corbinian’s Bear brings us this:

 

In what Vatican watchers say is an attempt to rekindle flagging interest in Pope Francis’ “Green Encyclical,” the Vatican unveiled a new symbol for the initiative. A Vatican spokesman explained that “we want the people of the Earth to still think of Her as a ‘sister,’ but more of a hot step-sister.” The spokesman added that her “hotness” would remind people of global warming. Continue Reading

11

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Mario Vargas Llosa

 

latin american idiot

He believes that we’re poor because they are rich and vice versa, that history is a successful conspiracy of evil against good, where they always win and we always lose (he is always among the poor victims and the noble losers).  He has no objection to surfing through cyberspace and being on-line, while at the same time-without realizing the contradiction-loathing consumerism.  When he speaks of culture he boasts, “What I know I learned from life, not from books, so my culture isn’t academic, but pragmatic.”  Who is he?  He is the Latin-American Idiot.

Mario Vargas Llosa, first paragraph of the foreword to Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner and Alvaro Vargas Llosa (2001), which is essential reading in the current pontificate.

16

Judicial Retention Elections for Supreme Court Justices

tyranny3

 

A good idea from Senator Ted Cruz (R.Tx.):

Yet we are a people who believe, in the words of our Declaration of Independence that “when a long train of abuses and usurpations . . . evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.” In California, the people said enough is enough in 1986, and removed from office three activist justices who had repeatedly contorted the state constitution to effectively outlaw capital punishment, no matter how savage the crime. The people of Nebraska likewise removed a justice who had twice disfigured that state’s constitution to overturn the people’s decision to subject state legislators to term limits. And in 2010, the voters of Iowa removed three justices who had, like the Supreme Court in Obergefell, invented a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Judicial retention elections have worked in states across America; they will work for America. In order to provide the people themselves with a constitutional remedy to the problem of judicial activism and the means for throwing off judicial tyrants, I am proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject the justices of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial-retention elections. Every justice, beginning with the second national election after his or her appointment, will answer to the American people and the states in a retention election every eight years. Those justices deemed unfit for retention by both a majority of the American people as a whole and by majorities of the electorates in at least half of the 50 states will be removed from office and disqualified from future service on the Court.

Continue Reading

3

Fortnight For Freedom: Abraham Lincoln on Supreme Court Decisions

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 

Some quotes from Abraham Lincoln in how to react to illegitimate Supreme Court decisions.  An illegitimate decision is one in which the Court arrogates to itself the power of a legislature under the mendacious guise of merely interpreting the Constitution:

 

 

1.  I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case, upon the parties to a suit; as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government.

2.  Judicial decisions have two uses-first, to absolutely determine the case decided, and secondly, to indicate to the public how other similar cases will be decided when they arise. For the latter use, they are called “precedents” and “authorities.”

3.  We think its (the Supreme Court) decisions on Constitutional questions, when fully settled, should control, not only the particular cases decided, but the general policy of the country, subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitution as provided in that instrument itself. More than this would be revolution.

4.  At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

5.  Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession. Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Drought

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

In response to California’s four-year drought, California Governor Jerry Brown has ordered the country’s first-ever mandatory baptism restrictions.

Brown’s executive order mandates that all churches in California cut back baptisms by 25 percent. The actual baptism restrictions are left in part up to the local dioceses, which will determine baptism limits and ways to monitor how many individuals are being saved by the blood of the Lamb.

Brown told the press this morning that the 25 percent of baptisms that are to be cut also applies to full immersion baptisms that take place in the ocean or lake.

In response to cut backs in baptisms, Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone criticized Brown’s measure to possibly restrict an additional 25 percent, and to force those to be strictly baptisms made by desire.

“We understand that the Governor believes we need to conserve water,” Cordileone told EOTT this afternoon. “But that we might have to force an additional 25 percent of incoming Catholic to wait until death to be baptized is ridiculous. On the bright side, I was able to talk him out of possibly mandating that all incoming pro-life Catholics be baptized by blood.” Continue Reading

1

Fortnight For Freedom: Dixie

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 I have always thought `Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. [Applause.] I presented the question to the Attorney General, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. [Laughter and applause.] I now request the band to favor me with its performance.’”

Abraham Lincoln, requesting the playing of Dixie when a crowd came to the White House after Lee’s Surrender.

Something for the weekend.  Well, after the Confederate flag madness of this week, the only appropriate song is Dixie.  One of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite songs, it now may become an anthem of a new movement against the suffocating political correctness that is threatening the freedom of our land.  Bob Dylan’s rendition of Dixie prior to the world going crazy:

49

Whining-Defeatism Open Thread

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I have little tolerance for whining and defeatism.  However, I suspect that many of our commenters and readers are doubtless distressed by recent events, as am I.  Thus, on this open thread you may, to your hearts content state:   that America is finished, the Church is finished, the anti-Christ is arriving by 6:00 AM CST on Tuesday in Pittsburg, Our Lady told a nun in Kenosha back in 1973 that the world would end in 2020, that the GOP is under the control of the cattle-mutilating Elvis impersonating Masons from Pluto, that secession is our only hope, that acting like Amish is our only hope, that we have no hope, that the barbarians are within the gate, that we have been sold out, that defeat is inevitable, that it is all (insert blank) fault, that pessimists are just too darn optimistic and any other manifestation of gloom, doom, despair and agony that you wish to give vent to.  This is your opportunity on this blog to do so.  The rest of the blog will be for people who have analysis, information and useful suggestions to give, along with the usual humorous asides, and share with John Paul Jones the sentiment:  “I have not yet begun to fight!”

A little mood music to get you started:

33

The Supreme Court: A Danger to American Democracy

 

All of Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial opinions tend to be memorable, but I think his dissent in OBERGEFELL v. HODGES will perhaps be his most cited opinion in what I expect to be a dangerous time for the American Republic over the next few decades.  Here are quotes from his dissent to remember:

1.  It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me.  Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. 

2.  This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

3.   Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect.

4.  This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.  Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.

5.   The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation. 

6.  But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.  The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds— minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly— could not.

7.  These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

8.  The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational popphilosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.

9. Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall.  The Judiciary is the “least dangerous” of the federal branches because it has “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm” and the States, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.”  With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence. Continue Reading

74

OBERGEFELL v. HODGES: 5-4 Supreme Court Mandates Gay Marriage Nationally

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How wrong you were Alex.

In a decision which completes the transition of the Supreme Court to a super legislature, the Court today mandated gay marriage across the nation.  Justice Scalia’s dissent, shorn of footnotes and legal citations to aid in reading by non-attorneys, notes that the Court is a threat to American democracy:

 

JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins, dissenting. I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full.  I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.

The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me.  The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes, and can accord them favorable civil consequences, from tax treatment to rights of inheritance.

Those civil consequences—and the public approval that conferring the name of marriage evidences—can perhaps have adverse social effects, but no more adverse than the effects of many other controversial laws.  So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me.  Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.  Continue Reading

2

The Conquered Banner

Furling the Flag 2
Furl that Banner, for ’tis weary;
Round its staff ’tis drooping dreary;
Furl it, fold it, it is best;
For there’s not a man to wave it,
And there’s not a sword to save it,
And there’s no one left to lave it
In the blood that heroes gave it;
And its foes now scorn and brave it;
Furl it, hide it–let it rest!

Take that banner down! ’tis tattered;
Broken is its shaft and shattered;
And the valiant hosts are scattered
Over whom it floated high.
Oh! ’tis hard for us to fold it;
Hard to think there’s none to hold it;
Hard that those who once unrolled it
Now must furl it with a sigh.

Furl that banner! furl it sadly!
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly.
And ten thousands wildly, madly,
Swore it should forever wave;
Swore that foeman’s sword should never
Hearts like theirs entwined dissever,
Till that flag should float forever
O’er their freedom or their grave!

Furl it! for the hands that grasped it,
And the hearts that fondly clasped it,
Cold and dead are lying low;
And that Banner–it is trailing!
While around it sounds the wailing
Of its people in their woe.

For, though conquered, they adore it!
Love the cold, dead hands that bore it!
Weep for those who fell before it!
Pardon those who trailed and tore it!
But, oh! wildly they deplored it!
Now who furl and fold it so.

Furl that Banner! True, ’tis gory,
Yet ’tis wreathed around with glory,
And ’twill live in song and story,
Though its folds are in the dust;
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages–
Furl its folds though now we must.

Furl that banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently–it is holy–
For it droops above the dead.
Touch it not–unfold it never,
Let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people’s hopes are dead!

Father Abram J. Ryan, Poet-Priest of the Confederacy

2

Truth In a Time of Hysteria

Well, the National Park Service has joined the witch hunt against the Confederate flag, with this truly Orwellian statement:

America’s national parks are no longer selling Confederate battle flags in their bookstores and gift shops.

The National Park Service (NPS) announced on Thursday that the historic emblem will no longer be available as a memento for visitors to the parks system.

“We strive to tell the complete story of America,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a statement. “All sales items are evaluated based on educational value and their connection to the park.

“Any standalone depictions of Confederate flags have no place in park stores,” Jarvis added.

So much for attempting “to tell the complete story of America”, especially at Civil War battlefields.  (Who was the Union fighting, the “Censored” States of America?)  This is what happens of course in a country where a cadre of left wing activists live to launch Leftist crusades on the Internet, and their allies in business and government quickly fall into lock step.  An additional problem of course is that so many Americans today received a heavily politicized junk education and are bone ignorant of the history of their country.  To help cure the ignorance, I repeat this from a comment thread back in 2011.  Go here to read the original post.

Jesme:  What’s with the creepy Civil War video featuring some guy celebrating the heroism of Confederate soldiers? Practically ruins the article for me. Granted, I’m prejudiced on this point, but I can’t help it. Those nasty, murderous traitors were fighting for the right to buy and sell my ancestors like cattle. Thank God they lost. And kindly don’t hold them up to me as noble heroes. I’d as soon sing the praises of the SS. And yes, I know they weren’t quite as bad as the SS. But the difference is smaller than you might think.

 

Me:  The scene Jesme is from the movie Gettysburg. The actor is Richard Jordan who portrays Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead who died gallantly leading his men during Pickett’s charge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Addison_Armistead

The scene is given additional poignancy in that the actor Richard Jordan was dying of brain cancer at the time he appeared in the film.

The men who fought for the Confederacy did not invent negro slavery. It was an institution that was over 250 years old in what would become the United States by the time of the Civil War.

What to do about slavery seems simple to us now. It did not appear so to most people at the time as demonstrated by this statement from Abraham Lincoln in 1854:

This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world; enables the enemies of free institutions with plausibility to taunt us as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity; and especially because it forces so many good men among ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty, criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Before proceeding, let me say that I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses, North and South. Doubtless there are individuals on both sides who would not hold slaves under any circumstances, and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew if it were out of existence. We know that some Southern men do free their slaves, go North and become tip-top Abolitionists, while some Northern ones go South and become most cruel slave masters.

When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we are, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists and that it is very difficult to get rid of it in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves and send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But a moment’s reflection would convince me that whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days, and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery, at any rate; yet the point is not clear enough for me to denounce people upon.

What next? Free them and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this, and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white peoples will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment is not the sole question, if, indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well- or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We cannot, then, make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South.

When they remind us of their constitutional rights, I acknowledge them not grudgingly but fully and fairly; and I would give them any legislation for the reclaiming of their fugitives which should not, in its stringency, be more likely to carry a free man into slavery than our ordinary criminal laws are to hang an innocent one.”

It was the inability of both the North and the South to remove the stain of slavery peacefully from the land that led to the Civil War. Lincoln viewed the war as the punishment of God for this and I agree with him:

“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

The men who fought in the ranks of the Confederacy were not Nazis. They were men fighting for the freedom of their people to rule themselves. Tragically this included the right to continue the centuries old institution of black slavery. It took the worst war in our history to end that institution and to preserve the Union and it is a very good thing in my mind that the Confederacy lost. However, that fact does not negate that most Confederates fought gallantly for a cause they thought right, just as did their Union opponents, which of course includes their black Union opponents. Continue Reading

15

Thoughts on the Green Encyclical

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Having read and pondered the Green Encyclical, PopeWatch has reached certain conclusions:

1.  The Pope really, really hates markets.  Time and again he goes out of his way to bash markets.

2.  The Pope favors a top down approach.  For all the Pope’s singing the praises of the poor, one of the striking features of the Encyclical is how elitist in tone it is and how little trust that the Pope has in the unguided average man and woman to do what he considers to be the right thing in regard to the environment.

3.  The Pope has little use for democracy.  Time and again the Pope points out that elections cause governmental policies to shift when what is needed are long term solutions.

4.  The Pope could care less if what he proposes leads to negative economic growth.  I think for the Pope, a poorer material life for the great majority of people is a feature not a bug in what he proposes.

5.  The Pope’s proposals, except for a few minor nods to subsidiarity, involve Caesar telling us what to do.

6.  The Church created the Holy Roman Empire and then spent the next thousand years fighting it.  PopeWatch believes that would also be the case if the global authority that Pope Francis so ardently desires should ever come about.

7.  The use of Scripture to support the Pope’s Encyclical is strained, and in some cases shockingly weak.  The Bible, except in a few scattered passages, is of little use for twenty-first century environmentalists attempting to transform their policy preferences into “Thus Sayeth the Lord!” commands.

8.  The length and the bad style of most of the authors of the Encyclical will probably lessen its influence.

9.  The document is deeply pessimistic in tone.  Like most environmentalist screeds it relies on predictions of gloom and doom, that somehow never seem to come about, in order to produce assent and action from the reader.  However, close reading of the Encyclical causes PopeWatch to suspect that the Pope believes that environmental harm has gone too far and that humanity will not, and perhaps cannot, undo the damage.

10.  Passages in the Encyclical seem jumbled, with disparate elements falling over themselves.  Those passages, PopeWatch suspects, are all Pope Francis, as they are the type of chaos that he brings to his writings, speeches and his Papacy.

Below are the notes of PopeWatch on the Encyclical by paragraph number: Continue Reading

1

Religious Freedom: The First Freedom

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 

 

As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government.  I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.  And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed.

George Washington, March 15, 1790

 

Catholics in this country have long enjoyed complete religious liberty.  The experience of that freedom in this country was one one of the factors that caused Popes to embrace the concept of religious liberty as enshrined in the documents of Vatican II.  Maryland, the Catholic colony, was the first colony to proclaim religious freedom in the New World.

Now that precious liberty that so many Americans have fought and died for down through the centuries is under siege by local and state governments and the Obama administration.  The Bishops of Maryland have spoken out against this evil trend.  Go here to read their 16 page statement from 2011. Continue Reading

19

Now It’s Personal

 

 

I play a lot of historical war games on computers, ipads and android tablets.  Apple has decided that I should no longer play Civil War games on my ipad:

 

Apple’s Tim Cook has recently spoke against displaying the Confederate flag, so I suppose this development was to be expected. However, censoring historical games (if that is indeed the reason why the game’s have been pulled) is always very tricky because those games don’t glorify or promote a cause but, rather, represent historical events using the symbols and insignia of the period. However, I can also see the political and social pressure mounting at the moment, which makes pulling the games the “safest” action for Apple. What do you think? If Apple has indeed pulled the games for displaying the Confederate flag, is Apple’s action justified, or was there another way to eradicate racism and remove the symbols and words that feed it, as Tim Cook put it?

 

Update: It’s looking like Apple has pulled everything from the App Store that features a Confederate flag, regardless of context. The reasoning Apple is sending developers is “…because it includes images of the confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.” We just spoke with Andrew from HexWar Games, who have released many historical strategy games. He insists, “We’re in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time.”

Continue Reading

11

Ban Gone With the Wind?

 

As fellow blogger Paul Zummo noted yesterday:

Once upon a time it took months and even years for the next level of absurdity to be realized. In modern America it only takes hours.
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/11/professors-us-flag-symbolizes-racism-should-not-be-displayed-on-campus.html

Now the film critic for The New York Post wants to relegate Gone With the Wind to the museum:

Warner Bros. just stopped licensing another of pop culture’s most visible uses of the Confederate flag — toy replicas of the General Lee, an orange Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard’’ — as retailers like Amazon and Walmart have finally backed away from selling merchandise with that racist symbol.

That studio sent “Gone with the Wind’’ back into theaters for its 75th anniversary in partnership with its sister company Turner Classic Movies in 2014, but I have a feeling the movie’s days as a cash cow are numbered. It’s showing on July 4 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the museum’s salute to the 100th anniversary of Technicolor — and maybe that’s where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs. Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Conclusion of Encyclical Translation

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Continuing on with the translation by PopeWatch of the Green Encyclical.  Go here to read the first part,  here to read the second part, here to read the third part and here to read the fourth part.

199.Science cannot give a complete explanation of life.

200.Technical solutions to problems are of no use if Man has lost his way.

201.Dialogue among religious believers to solve the problems confronting Man.  (When such “dialogues” are conducted, they usually involve elites who share the dominant zeitgeist of the chattering classes of the West, and often have little in common with the average members of their religions.  That is why such “dialogues” have so little fruit and are exercises in futility, other than good media attention for those involved.)

202.Those sons of Adam and daughters of Eve will need to change pronto!

203.Pope condemns consumerism.  (PopeWatch has always been amused that clerics, whose physical needs are met by their flocks, so often condemn consumerism in their flocks.) Continue Reading

2

Fortnight For Freedom: John Paul II on the Constitution

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 

 

 

Interesting reflections on the Constitution courtesy of remarks made by Pope John Paul II to President Reagan on September 10, 1987 during the Pope’s visit to the US:

 

Mr President,

1. I am grateful for the great courtesy that you  extend to me by coming personally to meet me in this city of Miami. Thank you  for this gesture of kindness and respect.

On my part I cordially greet you as the  elected Chief Executive of the United States of America. In addressing you I  express my own deep respect for the constitutional structure of this  democracy, which you are called to “preserve, protect and defend”. In  addressing you, Mr. President, I greet once again all the American people with their history, their achievements and their great possibilities of serving  humanity.

I willingly pay honour to the United  States for what she has accomplished for her own people, for all those whom she  has embraced in a cultural creativity and welcomed into an indivisible national  unity, according to her own motto: E pluribus unum. I thank America and all Americans – those of past generations and those of the present – for their  generosity to millions of their fellow human beings in need throughout the  world. Also today, I wish to extol the blessing and gifts that America has  received from God and cultivated, and which have become the true values of the  whole American experiment in the past two centuries.

2. For all of you this is a special hour in your  history: the celebration of the Bicentennial of your Constitution. It is a time  to recognize the meaning of that document and to reflect on important aspects of  the constitutionalism that produced it. It is a time to recall the original  American political faith with its appeal to the sovereignty of God. To celebrate  the origin of the United States is to stress those moral and spiritual  principles, those ethical concerns that influenced your Founding Fathers and  have been incorporated into the experience of America.

Eleven years ago, when your country was  celebrating another great document, the Declaration of Independence, my  predecessor Paul VI spoke to American Congressmen in Rome. His statement is  still pertinent today: “At every turn” he said, “your Bicentennial speaks to you  of moral principles, religious convictions, inalienable rights given by the  Creator”. And he added: “We earnestly hope that… this commemoration of your  Bicentennial will constitute a rededication to those sound moral principles  formulated by your Founding Fathers and enshrined forever in your history” (Pauli VI, Allocutio ad civiles Auctoritates Foederatarum Civitatum Americae  Septemtrionalis, die 26 apr. 1976: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIV [1976] 288ss.). Continue Reading

20

Tell Us What You Really Think About the Green Encyclical Maureen

Mullarkey

 

Memo to self: Never get Maureen Mullarkey mad at me:

 

A strain of inadvertent comedy runs through “Laudato Si.” Il Papa assumes the posture of governess to the world—Mary Poppins on the Throne of Peter. Who else could align the magisterium of the Catholic Church with exhortation to turn off the air conditioner, shut the lights, and be sure to recycle? For this Christ died: to atone for petroleum products. And for carbon emissions from private cars carrying only one or two people.

For this Christ died: to atone for petroleum products. And for carbon emissions from private cars carrying only one or two people.

While Christians in the birthplaces of Christianity are crucified and beheaded for their faith, young girls are kidnapped and sold for the price of a pack of cigarettes, our encyclical whines: “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”

There is more in that letter-to-the-editor vein: “Neighbourhoods, even those recently built, are congested, chaotic and lacking in sufficient green space. We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.”

Of course not. We were meant to live in a beautiful, walled-in enclave like Vatican City with splendid gardens, a throng of world-class museums, its own armed gendarmerie aligned with Interpol, and an impenetrable immigration policy.

Gospel quotations are bent to serve. In the chapter “The Gaze of Jesus,” we read this: “98. Jesus lived in full harmony with creation, and others were amazed: ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Mt 8:27).”

That passage from Matthew has not a thing to do with harmony. Rather, it tells of Jesus’ dominion over nature. It is a statement of authority, of lordship over the natural order. The verse complements one from John: “He that cometh from above is above all.” By abolishing the scriptural intuition of power and might, the truncated quotation makes Jesus a screen on which to project a chimera of cosmic equality.

 

Continue Reading

35

Another Scalp for the Grievance Industry

 

The ginned up hysteria this week over the Confederate flag, after the dreadful murder of nine blacks in a Charleston church by a deranged white racist, marks a fitting coda to the one hundred and fiftieth commemoration of the War, as a symbol that few Americans know much at all about their own history these days.  Amazon, along with other retailers including Walmart, has banned Confederate flag products, on the grounds that they do not want to offend customers.  Katie McHugh at Brieitbart notes that Amazon has a long way to go if Amazon wishes to accomplish that:

 

 

Amazon sells a huge variety of shirts, posters, you-name-it featuring the hammer and sickle, Joseph Stalin’s mustache, all things Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin and other colorful revolutionaries who fought to make the world a better place, man. Guevara’s book Guerilla Warfare is on sale in four different formats. In one of the worst genocides in modern times, Stalin forcibly starved Ukrainian peasants in what’s known as the Holodomor, a “terror-famine” that left anywhere from 2.4 million to 7.5 million Ukrainian peasants dead in 1933.

Communism is chic: Amazon’s senior vice president Jay Carney proudly features Soviet Union war propaganda in his lavish home, after all. “Have you enlisted in the army?” a poster featured by The Washingtonian Magazine photo splash asks.

Helpful reminder — Communism led to the deaths of 94 million people world-wide within a hundred years. That’s approximately 93,999,991 more murders than a drug-addled, fatherless loser committed in Charleston. Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: Encyclical Translated: Part IV

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Continuing on with the translation by PopeWatch of the Green Encyclical.  Go here to read the first part,  here to read the second part and here to read the third part.

147.The Pope wants improvement in the environment in which people lead their daily lives.

148.Pope praises people who live in bad locations, slums for example, but who improve their lives by ties of families, friendship and other associations.

149.Bad living conditions can lead to anti-social behavior, but the Pope is confident that love can always triumph even in the worst living conditions.

150.Pope believes that urban planners should always take into consideration the views of people who live in the locations subject to the planning.

151.Common areas and landmarks should be protected.  (The Pope demonstrates no understanding that such “should lists” are carried out in real life by bureaucratic regulation that stifles investment and economic growth, precisely what poor people anywhere need.)

152.The Pope condemns lack of housing in urban areas.  At the same time he wants to attempt to preserve and “integrate” slums and run down areas through improvements.  (The Pope’s focus, as throughout the entire Encyclical, is for government to do quite a few things, many of them contradictory.  He is unaware that some of his goals could be reached by getting government out of the way and unleashing the markets he so distrusts.)

153.The Pope likes public transportation and does not like private cars in urban centers.  Public transportation should be improved.

154.Life isn’t a bed of roses for those living in rural areas, even though the focus of the Pope is on urban dwellers.

155.Pope takes a swipe at the gender ideologues who pretend that “man” and “woman” are voluntary categories rather than facts of life.  (Would that the Pope had written an encyclical on that subject!) Continue Reading

3

Fortnight For Freedom: Sister Mary Ephrem

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

The patroness of the United States is the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception.  On May 26, 1846, the Catholic Bishops of the United States at the Sixth Provincial Congress in Baltimore, passed this decree:

With enthusiastic acclaim and with unanimous approval and consent, the Fathers [of the Council] have chosen the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the Patroness of the United States of America; without, however, adding the obligation of hearing Mass and abstaining from servile work on the feast of the Conception of Blessed Mary. And, therefore, they decided that the Supreme Pontiff be humbly asked to transfer the solemnity, unless the feast fall on a Sunday, to the nearest Sunday, on which both private and solemn Masses may be celebrated of the feast thus transferred, and the vesper office of the same feast may be recited.

Pope Pius IX confirmed the request of the Bishops that Mary as the Immaculate Conception be the patroness of the United States on February 7, 1847.

SisterMildredMaryephrem

Flash forward more than a hundred years to September 26, 1956 to Fostoria, Ohio.  On that date  Sister Mary Ephrem, born  Mildred Neuzil, a thirty year old contemplative nun of the Indwelling Trinity had her first vision of the Immaculate Conception.  The message of the Blessed Virgin was simple:

My child, I entrust you with this message that you must make known to my children in America. I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.

Mary called herself in the vision Our Lady of America.  Sister Neuzil’s Bishop, Paul F. Leibold, later Archbishop of Cincinnati, gave his imprimatur to two books relating the visions, the only eclessiastically approved visitation of Our Lady within the United States.

Sister Mary continued to experience her visions until her death in her convent in 2000 at age 83.  One poignant passage in her vision is this:

“Behold, O my children, the tears of your Mother! Shall I weep in vain? Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives. Will you do this for me, beloved children, or will you allow your Mother to weep in vain? I come to you, O children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be my army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother.” Continue Reading

2

Death of General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr.

LtGen__Simon_Bolivar_Buckner_Jr__and_MajGen__Roy_Geiger_at_Okinawa

The final remnants of resistance on Okinawa were crushed on June 21, and the United States was stunned by the American casualties of approximately 80,000.  For a nation that was becoming weary of war, this was a bitter victory.  One casualty stood out:  Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr, the commander of the Tenth Army, the invasion force.

The product of a May-November marriage, Buckner’s mother was 29 and his father, Simon Bolivar Buckner, a former Confederate Lieutenant General, was 63 when he was born in 1883, like his father he was a West Point graduate, class of 1908.  Much of his career was spent either attending or teaching at Army schools, including a stint as Commandant at West Point.  Prior to being tabbed to command the Tenth Army, Buckner spent most of the War in the Pacific sideshow of Alaska.

On June 18, 1945 Buckner was inspecting an observation post when a Japanese artillery shell exploded in nearby coral driving fragments into his chest.  He died on the operating table.   The General was warned just prior to the artillery barrage to remove his helmet with three stars that might attract enemy fire.  He did so, but by that time the Japanese, ever on the alert, had probably targeted him. Continue Reading

12

Fortnight For Freedom: Pope Gregory XVI

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

Out of the Roman States, there is no country where I am Pope except the United States.

Pope Gregory XVI

Pope Gregory XVI was a complicated man.  In 1839 he issued a papal bull condemning both the slave trade and slavery.  He also opposed railroads in the Papal States, calling them chemins d’enfer, “roads to hell” a pun on the French for railroad, chemin de fer,  “iron road”.  He feared that they would lead to more commerce, a larger middle class, and the growth of liberal revolutionary movements that would topple papal secular government.  In the wake of the French Revolution of 1830, the Papal States had been convulsed with revolutionary republican movements initiating a guerrilla war, the papacy calling in Austrian troops to defeat them.

In Europe Republicanism tended to be anti-clerical, and Pope Gregory set his face like flint against these movements, behaving like a reactionary of the deepest hue, opposing the slightest political change, fearing that such changes would inevitably lead to persecution of the Church.  In Europe he was largely correct in his analysis, at least in the short term, but when he looked at the United States, he saw something different.

There a Republican government persecuted the Church not at all and allowed the Church to manage her affairs as the Pope saw fit.  As the quote at the beginning of this post indicates, this gave the Pope far more power than he had elsewhere except for the Papal States, including countries where Catholicism was the state religion with Catholic monarchs who never ceased to attempt to control the Church in their domains.  Perhaps to the surprise of the Pope, his bishops reported that the Church was growing swiftly in the United States, with a steady stream of  converts, the Church proving to be a strong competitor in the free market of religions that existed in the United States.

Pope Gregory took a keen interest in evangelizing the United States and established new bishoprics there.  He was no fan of new-fangled Republics, to say the least, but the United States was different:  a free land where the Church was also free. Continue Reading

20

PopeWatch: Encyclical Translated: Part III

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Continuing on with the translation by PopeWatch of the Green Encyclical.  Go here to read the first part, and here to read the second part.

101.The mess that the environment is in is our fault and in this section of the encyclical the Pope will explain why this has happened.

102.Two centuries of rapid technological advances.

103.Technoscience when well-directed (By whom?) is good.

104.Technology has greatly increased our power to destroy.

105.Our technology has advanced far more rapidly than our wisdom to use it properly.

106.The Pope does not think much of the scientific method when nature is viewed as an object.  He believes that this plays into the illusion that resources are limitless.  (Like most Leftists, the Pope views the world through the belief that it is a fight over a limited pie, not taking into account Man’s manifest ability to expand the pie.)

107.Many of the ills of society come from viewing technological advance as an end in itself.

108.Making technological advance as a mere instrument rather than an end seems inconceivable in the modern world.

109.Pope stops to bash free markets yet again.

110.Rapid technological advance leads to fragmentation of knowledge rather than the generalized knowledge in many areas we need to make decisions.  (Actually, the politicians who make the decisions in most countries usually have a fairly general education and are frequently untouched by much in the way of knowledge of individual technological fields.) Continue Reading

June 23, 1865: Confederate General Stand Watie Surrenders

 

Confederate General, and Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Stand Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, the last Confederate general to surrender his brigade.  He and his men had fought throughout the Indian Territory and the Trans-Mississippi theater, participating in more battles than any other Confederate unit in the theater, and waging a guerrilla war against Union supply lines and outposts.  Here are the terms of the articles of surrender: Continue Reading

2

June 22, 1865: Last Shot Fired in the American Civil War

 

The Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah, a converted steam merchant ship, steamed out of London on October 8, 1864.  Her skipper was Commander James Iredell Waddell, a veteran of twenty years in the United States Navy prior to the Civil War, and a graduate of Annapolis.  Under Waddell, the Shenandoah would spend the next year at sea taking or sinking 38 ships, mostly New Bedford whaling ships, virtually destroying the American whaling fleet.  The last shot of the War was a blank fired on June 22, 1865 in the Bering Strait, to indicate to a Union whaling ship the wisdom of surrender.  Some of the captured Yankee seamen claimed the War was over, but Waddell assumed they were lying.

Waddell remained unconvinced that the War was over until he encountered a British ship on August 2, 1865.  Fearing imprisonment or worse for his men, Waddell then embarked on an epic three month voyage, pursued by the US Navy, to Liverpool where Waddell surrendered his ship and lowered the Confederate flag for the last time on November 6, 1865.  The Union wished to try Waddell and his men as pirates.  The British decided to parole Waddell and his men, as reported by The Liverpool Mercury on November 9, 1865: Continue Reading

63

When is the Swiss Guard Going to Disarm?

 

SwissGuard

I assume the Pope will now be having the Swiss Guard disarmed, and foreswearing any and all protection by the Italian police and military:

 

People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.

“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.

“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.

He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.” Continue Reading

38

PopeWatch: Encyclical Translated: Part II

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Continuing on with the translation by PopeWatch of the Green Encyclical.  Go here to read the first part.

 

51.Greedy gringo rich countries are responsible for economic disparities North and South and cause ecological damage in the South.  (The Pope really is clueless when it comes to economics, isn’t he?)

52.The greedy gringos of the North are responsible for people being poor in the South.  (Classic Peronism.)

53.Mama Earth has to be protected but we lack the political will and structures to do so.  New techno-economic power structures if not stopped will kill the environment and freedom and justice.  (One can imagine evil tycoons twirling their moustaches and chortling evilly.  The Pope’s view of the world is not much more sophisticated than that.)

54.Economic and technological special interests block ecological reform;  i.e. people who do not agree with the Pope have been successful in opposing the type of draconian ecological measures he favors.

55.Some countries are making ecological progress but those darn markets keep leading to more consumption which damages the environment.  (Back in Real World, the best environment tends to be in the most capitalistic countries.  The nations with the worst ecological records have all been Communist.)

56.More market bashing from the Pope.  Man, does he hate free enterprise.

57.Pope foresees wars over scarce resources caused by financial interests.  (Once again, the economic ignorance of the Pope is staggering.)

58.A break in the bleak for a brief acknowledgment that there has been ecological improvement in some countries.

59.Back to the bleak:  such minor improvements in the environment blind us to the overall gloom and doom of the environment and the measures that must be taken to solve this problem.

60.The Pope points to extreme views on how to meet ecological issues, positioning himself to be the sweet, moderate voice of reason. Continue Reading

6

Fortnight For Freedom: Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher v. Henry VIII

 Fortnight For Freedom 2015

A spot of blood and grease on the pages of English history.

Charles Dickens, referring to King Henry VIII

For English speaking Catholics, June 22 is a bright day on the calendar of the Saints.  On this day we remember the two saints who stood against King Henry VIII, for the great principal that the State must never be allowed to control the Church.  Much that we Americans celebrate as freedom was born out of Church-State struggles down through the ages.  Sometimes those who stood against the State fell in the struggle, but the concept that the State is not absolute, that there are limits to its authority, is one of the great gifts of the Catholic Middle Ages to all of mankind.  It is only in modern times, since 1500, that the heresy that the State may exercise absolute authority has been a constant source of misery and strife in the history of the West.

When he ascended to the throne of England Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England.  His father Henry VII had never been loved by the people of England:  a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure no matter what Shakespeare would write in Richard III.  He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit as his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor.  His son by contrast looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic.  He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur.  He was reputed, correctly, to be pious.  He had considerable charism in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine, and the Church.  Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.

By the end of his reign he was widely despised by most his subjects.  Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife.  The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot in which he had some of the luckless individuals who roused his fury boiled to death.

It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church.  Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:

The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.” Continue Reading

13

Great New Vatican Initiatives!

Pope Being Environmentally Conscious

 

Mundabor  celebrates these Vatican initiatives:

 

At this point you already all know about the latest, surprisingly coherent decisions in the Vatican. Lest it be told that I only speak of the man in order to criticise him, I would like to say a word or two of praise at least of the coherence involved.

1. The Vatican decision to shut down and destroy all air conditioners within the Vatican city (similar measures will be implemented in every Catholic diocese in time) is at least a sign of coherence. Granted, the one or other old prelate may die, at least indirectly, because of the heat that follows (it promises to be a very hot summer in Rome), but it is good to see that there is the willingness to put one’s sweat where one’s encyclical is. Note that the air conditioning appliances will be destroyed, not sold. It makes sense, as selling them would only encourage consumerism and shift the problem to other offices and households. 

2. The decision, also announced, to put an immediate end to every travelling of the Pope is likewise to be praised. In the age of the Internet and social media, the voice of the Pope can reach pretty much anyone without any need to cause huge Co2 emissions for himself, his entourage, the security, the journalists, and the rest of the circus. Twitter is so environmentally friendly…

3. Even more coherent is the decision to put an end to World Youth Days. Millions of people gathering every time. A stunningly expensive exercise in terms of not only money (which can be given to the poor), but emissions. One can agree or not with the ideology of Laudato Si, but here is one saying that at least they practice their bad preaching.

4. I find the decision to have the Vatican carbon-neutral within 2016, and every diocesan office within 2019, a tad extreme. It will obviously require not only to sweat in summer, but also to freeze in winter; and the Roman winters can be fairly punishing at times, at least if you never lived in Connecticut, or Minnesota. It will require to curb the use of electricity, gas, fuel, mobility, food, everything. It will be a mess. But it will also give a great contribution in introducing that kind of simple, poor, rural society in which the Pontiff clearly sees the solution to our problems. And it will be an example. A great, if stupid, example.  Continue Reading

14

Fortnight For Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Sam Adams, August 1, 1776

The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom.  The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it.  All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed.  However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject.  While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.

The examples of this are legion.

It is the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens.

The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.

The Green Encyclical released this week is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.

The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.

Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power.  The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things.  This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price is for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage.  For all too many of our shepherds that is a small price to pay to keep the government largesse flowing.  There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.   These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing. Continue Reading

3

Jack Reagan

JackReaganfamily

 

On Fathers’ Day it is easy to recall and honor all the good fathers.  However, even a very flawed father can have a positive impact on a child.  Case in point Jack Reagan, the father of Ronald Reagan.

To be blunt, Jack Reagan was a drunk.  At eleven years old Ronald Reagan came home from school to find his father passed out on the porch,  dead drunk to the world.  In a small town the shame of that moment for a boy would be clear.  An alcoholic, one would think that the only impact that Jack could have on the life of his son was to be a negative example, but such was not the case.

Jack was gregarious and a born story teller, traits he passed on to his son.

He and his wife were always deeply in love, and his wife Nellie made sure that their sons knew that Jack was a good man in spite of his addiction to drink.

An Irish Catholic, he hated racial and religious bigotry.  He refused to allow his kids to see the film Birth of a Nation, because of its racist theme.  One cold winter night when he was on the road selling shoes, he slept in his car, rather than taking a room in a hotel that discriminated against Jews.

Reagan said of his father:

Among the things he passed on to me were the belief that all men and women, regardless of their color or religion, are created equal and that individuals determine their own destiny; that is, it’s largely their own ambition and hard work that determine their fate in life.

Continue Reading

15

Pursuing the parochial truth: Dominican University (River Forest, IL)…

 

“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.”

That’s the tagline for the Dominican University (River Forest, Illinois) website for this Dominican institution of higher education which advertises its mission using the following descriptor:

As a Sinsinawa Dominican-sponsored institution, Dominican University prepares students to pursue truth, to give compassionate service and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.

Notice the word “Catholic” by its absence in that descriptor.

 

logo

 

Just what might that mission mean in actual practice?

Consider the “New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church” conference scheduled for October 24. The conference’s subtitle is noteworthy: “An exploration of the American Catholic Church going forward.”

Hmmm….

The description of the conference is even more noteworthy:

[The National Catholic Reporters’ (NCR)] founders were journalists whose first priorities were holding authorities accountable and being a platform for a free, open discussion of ideas. Solidly founded in an American culture, NCR has been a chronicler of society and the Catholic Church for 50 years. Through this uniquely American and Catholic lens, the conference will explore what might be on the horizon for the American Catholic church.

Putting some flesh on those bones, conference speakers include:

  • Maria Pilar Aquino: A Catholic feminist theologian who teaches liberation theology, is pro-abortion, and supports the ordination of women. “We feminist Catholic theologians profoundly disagree with the intractable position of official Roman Catholicism regarding reproductive rights and women’s human rights,” Aquino has said. Of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, Aquino noted that it exhibited “strong signs of theological intolerance and of rigidity in the exercise of power….[The] mode of Church promoted by John Paul II was widely characterized by authoritarianism, centralism, conservatism, imperialism, and by monoculturalism, and is consistent with the patterns of dominant male-centered Western European Christianity.” In her talk, Aquino will explore the contribution of the deep voices from the Global South to those processes.
  • Reverend Bryan Massingale, STD: A priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and professor at Marquette University, Father Massingale spoke at an event on Capitol Hill on behalf of Equally Blessed, a homosexual activist coalition which counts among its number Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry. At the event, Massingale advocated “full equality” for homosexuals. Afterwards, Massingale was asked whether he agreed with the teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law” and “[under] no circumstances can they be approved,” Massingale evaded the question. In his talk, Father Massingale will explore how this moment challenges the Catholic faith community to face the “unresolved racism” in its own life, as well as the opportunities for more engaged social reflection and justice ministry.
  • Jamie Manson: A National Catholic Reporter columnist, Manson covers the so-called “homosexual marriage” and and feminist ideology beat. A critic of Pope Francis for upholding the complementarity of the two genders, Manson accuses the Pope of denegrating both homosexuals and women. Defending legal recognition of so-called “homosexual marriage,” Manson has argued: “How sad that church leaders refuse to see that same-sex couples have as much potential to be visible signs of God’s ‘masterwork’ as heterosexual relationships.” She also calls Church leaders to “have the courage and humility to see that God can be as fully present in the relationships of same-sex couples as God can be in opposite-sex couples and that God can be as sacramentally present through the body of a woman priest as God can be sacramentally present in the body of a male priest.” In her presentation, Manson will explore some of the new models of church that have been emerging among marginalized faith communities and consider what forms of church may be meaningful and relevant to new generations of Catholics.
  • Sister Joan Chittister, OSB: The “counter Mother Angelica” founder of Benetvision–an organization that promotes “contemporary spirituality” with the aim of awakening the “Divine Feminine” within each woman–Sr. Chittister is arguably most noted for her dissent against Church teachings concerning abortion (claiming it denies women a basic “freedom”) and female ordination as well as her critique of the Council of Trent, saying that it “plunged Catholicism into the Dark Ages.” Sr. Chittister will consider a way forward that is rooted in the prophetic message of the gospel which demands that we seek a new way of being church.

While the Dominican University website advertises that “All are welcome,” all of the invited speakers align themselves squarely with the NCR’s radical stance toward the Roman Catholic Church and whose shared desire is to shape the Church in their “American Catholic” image, as that’s defined by the contents of their lectures.

While those who are convening the event may “welcome” others to listen, they certainly aren’t welcome to speak. How open and inclusive of a diversity of thought! Tres catholique!

This conference isn’t an “academic” conference and, given topic’s parochial treatment, certainly won’t prepare any Dominican University students in attendance to pursue the truth.

“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.” That’s what it means to be Dominican University (with no mention of the word Catholic). And, all for only $40 per ticket (or $20 for students).

St. Thomas Aquinas must be scratching his head in disbelief.

 

 

 

To read the conference advertisement, click on the following link:
http://events.dom.edu/new-faces

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

2

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 Fortnight For Freedom 2015

As in years past, The American Catholic will take part in The Fortnight Freedom proclaimed by the USCCB:

 

 

The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2015, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the “freedom to bear witness” to the truth of the Gospel. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Reading the Green Encyclical

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

 

Catholic blogger Dermot McHenry, who wrote a scornful attack on Laudato Si yesterday, reported this morning that he was now about ready to consider actually reading the encyclical for himself.

“The thing is like 180 pages long or something like that,” McHenry told EOTT. “And since I’m not a big fan of Francis or the whole global warming thing, or reading long posts, I thought the best thing to do was to simply read what other commentators were saying and to eloquently regurgitate what I read, form a nice little narrative that would make my readers happy, and then to post it with a bunch of bold words everywhere.”

McHenry went on to say that after diligently and thoughtfully reading almost 88 comments on another post about Laudato Si, that he was “absolutely flabbergasted” at how utterly pathetic and pedestrian the idiotic encyclical was, and that he felt sorry that the Church was being headed by such a weak minded man.

At press time, McHenry is on track to successfully skimming the entire encyclical in under 15 minutes so. Continue Reading

4

Pollution

 

Something for the weekend.  In honor of the Green Encyclical, a bit of Tom Lehrer.  Living through the Sixties when I was a kid was bad enough.  Little did I know that I would have the “joy” of reliving the Sixties in my fifties.  The only thing that Marx, Karl not Groucho, got right was that history frequently does repeat itself:  the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

18

Bear Growls: Pope Francis the Angry

angry Pope Francis

A succinct, and, on the whole, accurate assessment of Pope Francis, at least so far, by Saint Corbinian’s Bear:

 

Pope Francis — this is his. There are no surprises to the man. We can all sit back and stop obsessing over everything he says and does. There’s nothing to figure out any more. He’s a Latin American bishop with naive, confused and passionate politics and a constricted view of the world. He idealizes the poor, not because they are needy, but because they are The Poor. The Catholic Church is being repurposed into something strange, vague. The tone of this Papacy is anger.

And pessimism.

39

PopeWatch: Encyclical Translated-Part I

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

One of the reactions of PopeWatch to the Green Encyclical is bloat.  The whole thing could have weighed in at 50 pages without any loss of content.  The committee who put this together needed a good editor.  As a public service, PopeWatch will now provide a slimmed down version of the Encyclical.

1.Saint Francis liked the environment and so should we.

2.The world is in a sad shape from pollution and it is our fault.

3.This encyclical is as important as Pacem in Terris that was released in 1963.

4.The Pope cites Pope Paul VI on the environment so that you won’t think he is a hippie Pope off on his own hook.

5.Ditto as to Pope John Paul II.

5.Ditto as to Pope Benedict.

6.The Pope cites Patriarch Bartholomew because he is an environmental alarmist like the Pope and because modern pontiffs never miss an opportunity to suck up to the Orthodox, even though they all tell us to take a hike eventually when it comes to reunification.

7.More Bartholomew.

8.More Bartholomew.

9.Let’s drag Saint Francis back in and ahistorically paint him as an enviro-nut.

10.More Saint Francis.

11.More Saint Francis.

12.More Saint Francis.

13.Man made harm to environment is a big problem and we all need to work together to solve it.

14.If you think this whole environmental doom and gloom is idiocy you are in denial and part of the problem. Continue Reading

17

The Pretense of Knowledge

Hayek

 

I have been viewing with some mirth the joy of the Left in regard to the release of the Green Encyclical.  Prior to Pope Francis, most of those celebrating were intensely hostile to the papacy, viewing it as enemy number one on their path to the ever elusive socialist utopia.  Now they think they have a pope on their side.  Of course, in regard to the Green Encyclical we have Pope Francis being celebrated by the Left for doing something which was anathema to them before he came on the scene: a pope  judging science.  Leftist accusations aside, that is something the Church has rarely done, for sound reasons.  Most ecclesiastics lack the education to make sound judgments on science.  Plus, the conclusions of science are always being modified as new data is studied, and for an institution that exists to expound the Timeless Truths of Christ, it is dangerous to seek to mix in with those Truths opinions on science which are bound to be wrong in part in the fullness of time.  Thus the Pope is being celebrated by the Left for agreeing with them, although his manner of agreeing with them can just as easily be turned against them when a future pope has different opinions on science, if a future pope is foolish enough to wish to do what the Pope has just done.  It is one of the features of our time that the clergy, doing a lousy job by and large in expounding the Gospel, are eager to give their opinions on subjects they are frequently bone ignorant about, merely parroting, in the main, beliefs of the Zeitgeist popular among the chattering classes, and the clergy are always members in good standing of that group.

Father George Rutler at Crisis Magazine explains why having the Church sit in judgment on the conclusions of science is a very bad idea indeed:

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecology of the earth is adventurously laden with promise and peril. It can raise consciousness of humans as stewards of creation.  However, there is a double danger in using it as an economic text or scientific thesis. One of the pope’s close advisors, the hortatory Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras said with ill-tempered diction: “The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.” From the empirical side, to prevent the disdain of more informed scientists generations from now, papal teaching must be safeguarded from attempts to exploit it as an endorsement of one hypothesis over another concerning anthropogenic causes of climate change. It is not incumbent upon a Catholic to believe, like Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, that a pope can perfectly predict the weather. As a layman in these matters, all I know about climate change is that I have to pay for heating a very big church with an unpredictable apparatus. This is God’s house, but he sends me the ConEd utility bills.

It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute). The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined.  It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.”  That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners.  One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.”  While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius.  Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe.  At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals. Continue Reading

32

The Rise of Rex Mottram Catholicism

If you have not read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited – well, what’s wrong with you? You should really go read it. Like right now. I’ll be here when you get back.

Now that you’ve returned, let’s talk about the character of Rex Mottram. Rex, of course, is Julia Flyte’s fiance. He is a non-practicing Protestant, and he goes through the process of becoming a Catholic. Since the book is set in the 1920s, and thus pre-Vatican II, Rex is not subjected to RCIA. Instead, Rex meets with the Flyte family’s priest, Father Mowbray. Father Mowbray relates the following exchange:

“Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'”

This, along with Rex’s unquestioning acceptance of Cordelia Flyte’s description of Catholic doctrine are among the funniest aspects of the book. What this scene does is expose one of the silliest anti-Catholic prejudices, namely, that Catholics are expected to uncritically and unblinkingly accept every word uttered or written by a Pope as unequivocal truth. This makes hash out of the doctrine of infallibility, which this very educated audience understands applies only to ex cathedra statements regarding faith and morals.

This stereotype of Catholics has fueled anti-Catholicism here, to the point that Catholic politicians have had to fend off charges that they are, in essence, tools of the Vatican. Yet today we see a rise in the number of faithful Catholics who seem intent on giving credence to the stereotype.

I’m not the first blogger to note the rise of the “Rex Mottram Catholic.” In fact I’m not the first person today to observe the phenomenon.

An example of the genre is provided by a former TAC blogger who now writes, naturally, for Patheos. This is hardly the most egregious example of the type, but it is a handy showcase. Larry D of Acts of the Apostasy has a strawmen caricature-inspired satire of what not to expect from the (now released) Papal Encyclical. He then writes:

Bottom line? The encyclical will be Catholic, and will espouse and expand on Catholic teaching. Faithful Catholics needn’t get their biodegradable knickers in a twist over Laudato Sii. Those who are…well, they have an agenda to push. Will there be some things in the encyclical that might make us a bit uncomfortable? Sure, I fully expect it – because being a Catholic sometimes makes you a bit uncomfortable. Comes with the territory. Let the Right and the Left yammer about it – ignore them. Online at least – read the thing and be able to discuss it cogently and coherently with flesh and blood folks, like family members and coworkers.

Let’s unpack this a bit. He first accuses anyone who might be bothered by the encyclical as “having an agenda” to push, as though there could be no legitimate quarrel with anything the Pope writes. Further observe that Larry has pre-judged the criticism before it has even been offered. That’s right – before the encyclical had even been released and anyone knew officially what was in the document he determined that anyone who made a fuss had an agenda to push. So he’s criticizing the criticism, that hadn’t occurred yet, of a document that hadn’t even been released.We’re through the looking glass here people.

He then continues in a vein that is typical of the Rex Mottram Catholic: the Pope ain’t gonna say anything that is contradictory to Church teaching, so why the fuss? In other words, as long as the Pope doesn’t say anything heretical – and ipso facto he cannot – then why even raise a fuss?

There are several problems with the line of thinking, and we’ve been over some of them in excruciating detail. I won’t address the potential problems with this specific encyclical because I haven’t read it. Generally, though, this sort of thinking both excessively elevates the Pope and diminishes him. It elevates him because it places large swathes of what he says and writes outside the bounds of legitimate criticism. It diminishes him by reducing him to nothing more than a vessel of speaking truisms about the faith. If the Pope is merely echoing basic tenets of the faith such as that we are meant to be stewards of creation and have grave responsibilities towards it, then so what? Why bother with a 200 page encyclical? He could have pretty much said the same thing in a 10-minute homily. Obviously, though, the Pope’s intention is to do much more with this. He is hoping to shape debate and push Catholics (and others) towards a certain course of action. Well if that’s the case, don’t we have the duty to take a step back and make sure that what the Pope is saying has merit to it?

You can see this attitude in the comments. When one commenter dared imply that the Pope’s opinion about the scientific data was not sacrosanct, someone replied, “Why do you place your understanding above the Pope’s in determining what is, and what is not, ‘supported by scientific data’?”

This brings us back to the Rex Mottram quote. The Pope has no special charism to interpret scientific data. If he sees a few clouds in the sky and predicts rain, it’s not disobedient for me to pull up my Droid, open the Accuweather app, and inform him that there is a zero percent chance of precipitation.

One last note. Another talking point that has been and will be repeated is that conservative Catholics who ignore, dispute, criticize, etc. this encyclical are no different than liberal Catholics who did the same to previous documents, especially Humanae Vitae. Anyone who does so would be guilty of Cafeteria Catholicism just the same.

I would concede that there is a danger that too many Catholics will raise up the “prudential judgment” banner too reflexively. I’ll also concede that Larry D, for instance, has a point in noting that sometimes being a Catholic makes you uncomfortable. Our disposition as Catholics should be that hen we read this or anything written by the Holy Father that we put our prejudices aside, and not mentally check out whenever he says something that might contradict something we believe.

What I will vehemently dispute is that any criticism of this or any document is just the same as the reaction to Humanae Vitae. People did not just object to certain facets of the encyclical. Rather, dissidents objected to the very core teaching of Church that Pope Paul VI was promulgating. Now, if Catholics object to the idea of being stewards of creation, then yeah, they’re hypocritical cafeteria-style Catholics. If we reject the fundamental idea of caring for the poor, that’s dissidence. I suspect, however, that there won’t be much of that style of reaction.

6

PopeWatch: Bear Growls: High Water Mark

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Saint Corbinian’s Bear discusses something that PopeWatch has been musing about:  the Green Encyclical may be the high water mark of Pope Francis:

 

We may be witnessing the high water mark of Pope Francis. The Bear has a feeling it’s downhill from here.

Why would the Bear say such a ridiculous thing now, of all times? The whole world has turned its gaze toward the Man in White.

First of all, what does he bring to the party, if it is permissible to put it like that? The only so-called science will be second-hand. Nothing new here. It’s not like he’s an expert in the field. The people who have been impressed with the climate change pseudologia fantastica thus far will continue to believe, and those who don’t, won’t. How many people do you think will really say, “Oh the Pope has come out on the subject of global warming, so I’m going to change my mind! Honestly, the Bear doesn’t think it will be very many.

The Bear does not expect many to actually read a 200-page encyclical. Sorry, but that’s the price you pay for writing a 200-page encyclical. The juiciest parts will be cherry-picked by talking heads. The shelf-life will be mercilessly short. The Bear does not expect this to have legs.

The release of the encyclical gives those playing along with global warming an opportunity to talk about it, and even do so in moral terms, which the encyclical will certainly include. And the climate realists will also get to sound off. Again, no big change. In order to be impressed by the moral implications of a scientific theory, one must be persuaded by the science.

Catholics will not change their minds. Expect liberal Catholics to bring up Humanae Vitae inappropriately, and type the phrase “cafeteria Catholic” a lot. The Bear does not recommend engaging them because they’re not really listening to your reasoned explanation.

The Bear believes it is unfortunate for a pope who is already suspect in some ways in the minds of many, to so unambiguously align himself with a goofy political fad and all its hangers on. The Bear’s theory is that global warming “ticks all the right boxes” for the Pope, economically and politically. He was powerless to resist. That’s about the most you can say. Continue Reading